A bipartisan effort to keep icebreakers like the locally docked United States Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay busier is underway in Washington D.C. Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher and Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin have recently reintroduced the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act in their respective chambers. Under the bill, the United States Coast Guard would be required to provide an annual report on its icebreaking missions, coordinate with local industries on its efforts, and authorizes $350 million for the construction of a new vessel to pave the way for Great Lakes commerce. Gallagher said earlier this month that insufficient icebreaking can cost the country a lot of money.
The bill would codify into law the United States Coast Guard’s ice-breaking mission, which is still working off of an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In both chambers, the bill is waiting for committee approval.